CHARLOTTE – Perry Fewell, a coaching veteran with two decades of experience working with NFL defenses, has been hired as the Panthers’ secondary coach.
"With his background with coverages and technique I think he’ll be really good for us, especially for our young defensive backs," head coach Ron Rivera said.
Fewell, a native of the Charlotte region who coached alongside Rivera with the 2005 Bears, spent the previous two seasons as defensive backs coach for the Jaguars.
"It’s a dream come true, so to speak," said Fewell, who was born in Cramerton, N.C. "Coaching for your home team – what better joy could you get? I’m just excited to get to work."
In addition to 12 seasons as a defensive backs coach, Fewell served as interim head coach for the Bills in 2009 and defensive coordinator for the Bills from 2006-09 and the Giants from 2010-14.
He won a Super Bowl with the Giants at the end of the 2011 season, when New York allowed just 14 points per game in the postseason.
"Perry was with me in Chicago and he was one of the guys that really helped me take the next step as far as being a coordinator in this league," Rivera said. "He helped me get to the next stage and helped my understanding of the back seven. He’s had a lot of success in this league and been a Super Bowl winning coordinator.
"It’ll be very valuable to have Perry here for me and for (defensive coordinator) Eric (Washington) with his continued development."
The 56-year-old Fewell attended South Point High School in Belmont, N.C. – about 20 minutes west of Bank of America Stadium – and played at Lenoir-Rhyne University, an hour northwest of Charlotte in Hickory, N.C. His first coaching job was as a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina in 1985, and he ascended to the pro ranks as defensive backs coach for the Jaguars in 1998.
In Fewell’s second go-around in Jacksonville, the Jaguars paced the NFL in pass defense in 2017. This past season, they ranked fifth in the league in total defense and tied for fourth in scoring defense. Over his two years there, Jacksonville led the league with 182.2 passing yards allowed per game and a 76.4 passer rating allowed. The Jaguars' 32 interceptions since the start of the 2017 season tied for fifth.
"Perry is very direct. Detail oriented," Rivera said. "He’ll hold the guys accountable, which I really appreciate."
Rivera said Richard Rodgers will continue to work with the safeties in 2019.